Peconic Land Trust: Preserve Spotlight / 2018 — 8 HANDS FARM, CUTCHOGUE… UPDATE 11.21.18


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Preserve Spotlight / November 2018

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8 Hands Farm, Cutchogue 

 

Family Farm Comes to Life 

 

A wish for a better life for their family led Carol Festa and Tom Geppel to make a move to the North Fork and start a family farm — with Icelandic Sheep!
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Tom and Carol acquired over 27 acres — including a 1930s farmhouse and a few barns — from the Peconic Land Trust in the fall of 2011 and launched 8 Hands Farm.
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“We are excited about the opportunity to deepen our roots on the North Fork with the purchase of this farm. Our decision to get involved in farming stems from our desire to help preserve the farming culture of the area while increasing awareness of the importance of eating locally grown produce,” said Carol back in 2011 when the family bought the farm.
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The Trust purchased the Cox Lane farmstead that would become 8 Hands Farm, in the spring of 2007, simultaneously selling the the development rights on 25 acres to the Town of Southold. Trust staff worked with Tom and Carol on the transfer of the land for the expansion of their farming operation; they had been raising their flock of Icelandic sheep on leased land nearby.
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“We plan to build a multi-faceted family-based farm that will supply the local market with high quality products,” said Carol at the time of the transfer. “We also believe the farm business will provide our children with many learning experiences and the satisfaction of a productive existence. We are looking forward to our future endeavor on this great piece of property.”
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And they have! Today, 8 Hands Farm is a thriving family operation with heritage breeds of Icelandic sheep, Tamworth pigs and chickens. In 2018 & 2014, Tom led inspiring tours of the farm as part of the Trust’s Connections programs and was part of our Long Island Grown series of conversations with local farmers, chefs and winemakers in the Winter/Spring of 2015.
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We thank Carol, Tom and their family for their commitment to
Long Island agriculture.
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And we thank you!
Your generous support makes conservation possible.
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Preserve Spotlight / October 2018

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Channing Daughters Winery, Bridgehampton

 

 

Visionary Walter Channing’s Gift to Long Island

 

In the heart of Bridgehampton — an area rich in farmland soils and still home to generations of farmers — the resplendent vines of Channing Daughters greet you as you travel along Scuttlehole Road.
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The tasting room at the vineyard is open year round, and offers visitors the opportunity to not only taste the wines crafted by winemaker Christopher Tracey, but also to learn more about the conservation vision of Walter Channing.
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Walter and his wife Molly began working with the Peconic Land Trust in the early 1990s on conservation strategies that protected 57.9 acres between 1993 and 2007. These acres, including vines, meadows, and woodland, are located within an area that includes an additional 48 acres of agricultural reserve and open space protected by the Town of Southampton.
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We thank the Channing family for choosing conservation and to their partners Larry, Allison and Christopher for their commitment to Long Island.
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And we thank you!
Your generous support makes conservation possible.
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Preserve Spotlight / September 2018

 

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Cassidy Preserve, Greenport 

Sensitive Ecosystem Protected

Paddling along Hashamomuck Pond or driving across the causeway to the village of Greenport, the Cassidy Preserve is a beautiful place to see the sunset or witness snowy egrets, blue heron, and other water birds take flight.
Donated to the Trust in 1997 by the Cassidy family, this preserve is an important buffer between the agricultural lands to the northeast and the pond. This tidal wetland is a vital part of the Peconic Estuary ecosystem. A healthy wetlands system is our best defense against storm surge and flooding.
We thank the Cassidy Family for choosing conservation,
And we thank you!
Your generous support makes conservation possible.
Many times, it’s a call from a neighbor that can begin a conservation story. Contact Melanie Cirillo, Director of Conservation Planning, if you know of a natural area that could be protected for future generations or call us at 631.283.3195.
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Preserve Spotlight / August 2018

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Amagansett Farmers Market

photo by Mallory Samson

Community Landmark Saved for a New Generation

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Protected, preserved, feeding and teaching a new generation, the Amagansett Farmers Market and the seven adjacent acres of productive soils are under the ownership and stewardship of former Quail Hill Farm apprentices Katie Baldwin and Amanda Merrow of Amber Waves Farm.
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The iconic market, under the longstanding ownership of Pat Struk, was the keystone of a conservation effort that began in 2008. The Peconic Land Trust, working with Ms. Struk, the Town of East Hampton, and conservationist Maggie de Cuevas, protected the property and accomplished its eventual transition back into agriculture.
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Ms. de Cuevas purchased the land and the market from Ms. Struk, with the Town purchasing the development rights on the farmland. Ms. de Cuevas then asked the Trust to manage the property to bring new farmers onto the land.
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The following year in 2009, the farmland associated with the market was leased to fledgling Amber Waves Farm. Katie and Amanda’s plan to launch a non-profit farm operation based on three foundational goals — a community supported agriculture (CSA) farm, educational programs, and the reintroduction of organic wheat, the Amagansett Wheat Project — spoke to us all.
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The story comes full circle when Amber Waves Farm acquired the farmland and the market from Ms. de Cuevas in 2016 soon after she donated an enhanced easement to the Trust. The easement assures that the protected farmland will be accessible and affordable to farmers who grow food forevermore, and that the Amagansett Farmers Market will be an iconic destination for generations to come.
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“Security through land ownership is critical to the long-term sustainability of any farming enterprise. We are ecstatic to reach this milestone and are honored to become a permanent part of the fabric of the Amagansett community,” said Amanda Merrow, Amber Waves Farm. “We are grateful for years of immeasurable support from our farm’s board of directors, members, donors, and neighbors, as well as the de Cuevas family, Peconic Land Trust, and nearby Quail Hill Farm and Balsam Farms.”
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We thank Maggie, Katie and Amanda for their vision!
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And we thank you!
Your generous support makes projects like this possible.
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Preserve Spotlight / July 2018

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Hayground Farms, Bridgehampton

Food Farming for Future Generations

 

Hayground Farm, with its fertile Bridgehampton silt loam soils, was acquired by the Trust in 2013 from the descendants of William Haines. Mr. Haines first acquired the land in the 1680’s through a land grant. Undoubtedly, this land was cultivated by Native Americans for generations given its productivity and proximity to Kellis Pond. It provides travelers on Montauk Highway with a view into the South Fork’s cultural and agricultural heritage.
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Today, the farmland is leased to Peter Dankowski as part of the Trust’s Farms for the Future Initiative. Prior to the Trust’s purchase of the property, the owners sold development rights to Southampton Town in 2002. Later, in 2016, the Trust sold additional restrictions to the Town including affirmative and affordable farming covenants and resale restrictions that ensure that it will be accessible and affordable for food production forevermore.
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“It’s all about these incredible soils,” said Lee Foster of the South Fork Land Foundation, who partnered with the Trust on the protection of the land. “Once protected, we have a responsibility to care, nurture and use these soils for their best purpose. It is our goal to make the land available to farmers who grow food and to respect the legacy that the soil represents as well as its special capacity to produce crops of benefit to all.”
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Our thanks to all those who tilled and maintained this land for hundreds and thousands of years, from Native Americans to the descendants of the Haines family. This land will forever be available for agriculture that feeds and sustains us.
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Preserve Spotlight / June 2018

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New Suffolk Waterfront

Town of Southold

 

Community Comes Together to Protect Waterfront
for Future Generations

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Travel into the heart of New Suffolk hamlet and you will see a dynamic waterfront, with community gardens, marina, bay beach and community gathering spots. But this beautiful harborside location, the home to the first United States submarine base where the U.S.S. Holland was commissioned by the U.S. Navy, had an uncertain future at one time. Today, under the stewardship of the New Suffolk Waterfront Fund (the Fund) — a community-based 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization — it is thriving.
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With sweeping views of Cutchogue Harbor and Robins Island, the waterfront has become a place for recreational and cultural activities as well as an important access point to the waterfront and the bay beyond. 
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The waterfront was once home to a busy port, a flourishing shellfish industry and site trials for the US Navy’s first submarine — a vibrant landscape for more than 200 years. When, over a 30-year period, the property was repeatedly targeted by developers for outsized projects — including condominiums and heavy commercial use — the community rallied. In 2005 the Fund was established.
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Getting to this place took the efforts of many, including dedicated community members, foundations, and the Peconic Land Trust.
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In 1989, members of the New Suffolk Civic Association contacted the Peconic Land Trust given their concerns over the future of the waterfront as the property changed hands and development proposals were submitted. Very early on, the Trust suggested that the best way to control its destiny was for the community to own the property itself. 
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Eighteen years later, the opportunity presented itself. With the Fund in place and its resolve to raise funds to ultimately own the property, the Trust purchased the 3.4 acre parcel on December 19, 2007 through a bargain sale using its revolving fund and other assets for the acquisition. By December 2010, the New Suffolk Waterfront Fund had raised enough funds to acquire the property from the Peconic Land Trust.
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Preserve Spotlight / May 2018

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Southold Town Green

Young’s Avenue

Located at the corner of Main Road and Youngs Avenue, the Southold Town Green was the Peconic Land Trust’s first project in Southold Town. To this day, 30 years later, it exemplifies how a community can come together to make lemonade out of a lemon. In 1986, the historic 18th-century Hartranft house that graced this corner was unexpectedly demolished.
 
In the wake of the public outcry, George Wells, whose ancestor was the original owner of the Southold Hotel, had a dream for the property. “Let’s make something positive happen out of this negative situation,” he proposed.  To this end, George donated $200,000 to the Trust in memory of his aunt, Lillian Howell, toward the purchase of the newly vacant corner lot from the owner, Herbert Mandel. Mr. Mandell’s willingness to accept an offer that was substantially lower than its fair market value enabled the Trust to purchase the property in December, 1986. See the news article from the Long Island Traveler-Watchman
 
Soon thereafter, the Southold Town Green Committee, comprised of Edward Boyd, Frank Cichanowicz, Jean Cochran, Connie Cross, Alice Eckert, Michael Hall, Richard Hall, John Halsey, Frank Murphy, Sarah Sands, Greg Scholand, Paul Stoutenburgh, Raymond Terry, Jean Tiedke, Vincent Tirelli, Joseph Townsend, Jr., Richard Ward, and Jane Williams was established to coordinate planning, fundraising, and improvements to the site. 
 
Eighteen months later, the Green, with its turn-of-the-century gazebo, courtesy of the Southold Kiwanis Club, plus benches, landscaping, and a brick walkway, was dedicated in May, 1988 and conveyed to Southold Town, a public asset born of community action.
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Preserve Spotlight / April 2018 

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East Point Preserve, Hampton Bays 

 Nature preserve provides habitat for osprey and diverse marine wildlife. 
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When on the water in Shinnecock Bay, check out the beautiful sandy beach nestled between Tiana Bay and Smith Creek that is the home to nesting pairs of ospreys over the years. 

Peconic Land Trust’s East Point Preserve was donated to the Trust by Jacob and Gloria Fishbach in 1985 with the support of the neighboring East Point Home Owners Association. Protecting this fragile ecosystem by eliminating future development was important to support the diverse marine wildlife in the area.

We thank the Fishbachs and the  Association for their conservation and ongoing stewardship efforts!

Through conservation, East Point Preserve has been able to maintain a rich, vegetative environment for a variety of animal species listed by New York State for consideration including ospreys (NYS protected), monarch butterflies (NYS protected), Atlantic horseshoe crabs (NYS protected), great blue herons (NYS protected), snowy egrets (NYS protected), black terns (NYS endangered), piping plovers (NYS endangered), and sandpipers (NYS protected) … along with many others.

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Preserve Spotlight / March 2018 

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Agricultural Center at Charnews Farm, Southold 

Community Gardens at the Ag Center are all about  . . .   

well, community! 

From 23 acres acquired from the Charnews family in 2008, the Agricultural Center has grown to nearly 100 acres of productive farmland along Young’s Avenue north and south of Route 48 in Southold. 

As one of the locations for the Trust‘s Farms for the Future Initiative, the Ag Center provides farmers, established and start-ups, with affordable access to productive land. Farm operations at the Ag Center have ranged from 1-acre start-up vegetable farms to organic poultry operations to larger multi-crop established farm operations.

One of the stars of the Ag Center is the Community Gardens. Started in 2009, the Community Gardens have grown from 20 small plots to over 60. From the “Little Sprout Garden” with 4′ x 12′ raised beds through the “Magic  Middle” and into the “Pioneer Valley” with plots from 10′ x 20′ to 30′ x 20′ . . . there is a garden size for everyone: from the novice to the experienced. Having this range of expertise and size benefits all — and the gardens are plentiful as the season gets underway.


Deer fencing, water, compost, gardening tools and more are available to the community gardeners to help make your growing season a success.
Interested in joining in? We have garden plots available in all sizes. The Ag Center also hosts educational programs for the home gardener. On May 5, a workshop on Square Foot Gardening, which will help you maximize production in a small space — all programs are designed to share knowledge about growing food. The gardens are managed by North Fork Stewardship Manager Denise Markut — a gardening expert with lots of experience and information to share!    
 

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Preserve Spotlight / February 2018

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Preserve Spotlight: Accabonac Preserve

It’s time for a winter walk . . .  

Nestled on the northern flank of the Ronkonkoma moraine, the Trust’s 92.9 acre Accabonac Preserve was made possible in January 1998 by a generous, anonymous donor and by the conservation interests of the Potter Family. We appreciate all their efforts to see this amazing property preserved — part of over 600 acres of protected lands in the North Amagansett area.

The protection of this land added significant forest preserve to the Springs hamlet and provides hikers with wonderful trails that connect to the Paumanok Path. Trail heads can be found on both Accabonac Road and Springs-Fireplace Road. 

 
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